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Rol nationale parlementen versterkt in het nieuwe EU-Verdrag (en)

Met dank overgenomen van Europees Parlement (EP), gepubliceerd op dinsdag 4 december 2007.

The new Lisbon Treaty, the role it gives to national parliamentarians, and the treaty ratification process were the main topics for members of the 27 EU national parliaments and of the European Parliament who took part in a fourth joint meeting on the future of Europe at the EP in Brussels on Monday and Tuesday. Most speakers agreed the role of national parliaments would be enhanced by the new Treaty.

Closing the meeting, European Parliament President Hans-Gert Pöttering said: "National parliaments and the European Parliament are not in competition, but share the same objective: to strengthen European democracy". He stressed that there will always be discussions about which level of administration, European, national or local, should be the appropriate to deal with a specific issue. Therefore, "cooperation is necessary to make the Union work", he concluded.

Jaime Gama, Speaker of the Portuguese Assembleia da Republica, summing up the second day's debate, said that the preference between parliamentary ratification or a referendum on the new Treaty "is an internal political choice freely taken" by each Member State. He stressed the call, from most of participants, for citizens to be informed about the content and the objectives of the reforms.

Earlier, the participants took part in three working groups dealing with three related topics: "enhancing the role of Parliaments in the EU, wider responsibility for national Parliaments", "ratification and implementation of the Lisbon Treaty" and "the new institutional set-up: more efficiency and coherence".


"National parliaments are the greatest winners"

At the opening of Monday's meeting, Mr Gama said: "national parliaments are the greatest winners of this new Treaty". He also stressed that their role had grown through each subsequent revision of the treaties. This was, according to the Portuguese Parliament's Speaker, "a good reason to welcome the result" of negotiations on the Lisbon Treaty.

The rapporteur for the first working group on the role of national parliaments in the EU, Helder Amaral from the Assembleia da Republica, said the reforms contained in the Lisbon Treaty will boost EU's democratic legitimacy.

Reporting on the discussion held in the working group, Mr Amaral said majority of speakers agreed that there is no competition between national and parliaments the EP. In fact, "they all have different roles to play, but with the common objective of bringing the EU closer to citizens", he said. He proposed promoting "the exchange of information and best practices among national parliaments to improve the use of EU money, such as the structural funds".


Need to explain reforms to public

Jo Leinen (PES, DE), chairman of the EP Constitutional Affairs Committee, speaking on Monday, stressed the need for a proper communication policy to explain the content and the objectives of this reform to the public . He called for a reader-friendly version of the over-complex Reform Treaty.

On Tuesday, the rapporteur for the second working group, on the ratification process, Jean-Luc Dehaene (EPP-ED, BE), said that regardless of the procedure chosen by each Member State to approve the new Treaty, "it is necessary that citizens are fully involved".

This working group also discussed the way the Lisbon Treaty will increase EU efficiency and accountability. Mr Dehaene said that the EU's democratic profile is enhanced by both the new powers conferred on the European Parliament and the improved role given to national parliaments.


"No threat to national sovereignty"

The last working group focused on the new institutional set-up. Rapporteur Regina Bastos, from the Assembleia da Republica, said the large majority of the participants felt the new Treaty does not threat national sovereignty. Speaking on behalf of national parliamentarians, she said: "It is indisputable that we are better off now and that we are not in a federal state".

Reporting on the debate held in her working group, Mrs Bastos explained that there was concern among the speakers that the transparency of the decision-making process should be enhanced, both at EU and national level. Finally, she called on Members of national parliaments to ensure the proper implementation of the reforms, if the Lisbon Treaty is ratified.

At the end of the meeting, France Cukjati, Speaker of the Slovenian National Assembly, outlined the programme of his country's Presidency of the Council that will start in January 2008. He said that the positive outcome of the ratification process is one of the priorities for the Slovenian government: "If a Member State rejects the Treaty, we will see whether we accept a two-speed Europe or stand still for the next ten years".

The first three joint parliamentary meetings on the future of Europe were held in the EP on 8 and 9 May 2006, on 4 and 5 December 2006 and on 11 and 12 June 2007.


4th Joint Parliamentary meeting on the future of Europe

Co-Chair: Hans-Gert Pöttering (President of the European Parliament)

Co-Chair: Jaime Gama (Speaker of the Assembleia da Republica, Portugal)


REF.: 20071203IPR14219


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